Location: Appalachian Trail, Lewis Spring Falls, Virginia
Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks and Boone, North Carolina
Alas, after our hiking adventures we had to press on towards our new home. Of course, we couldn’t resist picking an exciting route. We chose to travel 99% of the way entirely on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Why, you ask? Because it’s “America’s Favorite Drive,” of course! Well, actually, that and we didn’t want to have to drive more than 45 mph in our moving van, we wanted the road mostly to ourselves, and we wanted to make ample stops- preferably scenic ones.
Location: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Note: we are both pretty minimal, and we like to make each new home its own. When we realized that we could fit everything we owned into a 10’ moving truck–and that such a truck is actually smaller than most RVs–we designed a week-long trip where we could stop and camp at some of the most beautiful sights along the Blue Ridge Mountains! We knew that we wanted to drive down along the Blue Ridge Parkway and also stop in Boone and Blowing Rock (more about that in our next post!). Since the Northernmost tip of the Parkway runs practically straight into Shenandoah, we couldn’t resist spending a few days there.
Location: Columbus, Ohio
V: Guys, I’m going to be honest with you. This post was hard to write.
Columbus has been my home for the majority of the last 8 years, so I have an intrinsically complicated relationship with it. This city- the capital of the heart-shaped state- is where K and I met and fell in love, where we both graduated from The Ohio State University, and where we have made so many beautiful friends and connections. Personally, I have moved 6 different times within the city’s limits. Now, we plan to leave it for good and move forward to our next adventure. Naturally, we are both happy and sad to go. We are indescribably grateful for all the things we’ve experienced in this place, and all it has done for us. However, we sense it is the time for new places and new opportunities. This post is written as a farewell tribute and also a bit of a travel guide for those who plan to visit or see a little more of the city’s magic.
Location: Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro and Chapel Hill, North Carolina
We had less than 2 days, but our mission was to see as much of our little corner of North Carolina as we could. Our plan was to visit Chapel Hill (since I would be attending UNC), Carrboro (known fondly as Chapel Hill’s hippie cousin), Raleigh (the State’s growing capital), and Durham (an entrepreneurial hub for young professionals). Too many flights made our experience a little haggard, a little tiring, but we managed to pull out all the stops. These areas are conveniently located within 30 minutes of each other, so we rented a car and got to seeing the sights.
Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China
I can say with much sincerity that one of the things we miss the most about China is the food and the food culture. Especially breakfast, which I think most Chinese people would agree is the most important meal of the day. One of the most common responses I get to photos from our journey is: “That’s what you guys ate for breakfast!?”
In Jian’ou, breakfast is the time the city hummed with life. Everyone would venture out to one of the hundreds of local breakfast shops to start their day off right (and maybe catch up on a little gossip and get a glimpse of the resident foreigners). More people would routinely eat out for breakfast than lunch or dinner combined. And seriously, what do Chinese people eat for breakfast? If you’re coming to China expecting a piece of toast, bacon, oatmeal, pancakes, or some cereal in the morning you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Location: Seattle, Washington, Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Now, although this post doesn’t represent any of our travels around Asia, it was possibly a bigger adventure than any other that we had this summer. It was the first time we had set foot on our home continent in over 14 months, and yet it was completely unlike the North America that we were used to. The one that we had left- flat, unchanging. It was lush and vibrant and filled with all of our favorite things. We were in awe at the amount of greenery we saw when our plane touched the ground.
Location: Jian’ou, Fujian Province, China
When we were living in China, one of the greatest things we noticed were the different forms of exercise. Not having widespread affordable healthcare available to the entire population makes keeping one’s body fit (even into old age!) a huge priority. It was so admirable to see how active elderly people in our community were. They would do play ping pong, pool, or badminton. They would also wake up early to perform Tai Chi sequences on their roofs and climb mountains (often times backwards, as is the tradition in China). They would take advantage of the local terrain whenever possible- living in a mountainous region made it easier- and it was oftentimes a community effort. The best part was, they would always find new ways to make it fun.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Let me just begin by saying: Japan is more than an interesting place. It is like nowhere else in the world, not exclusively because it was at the forefront of technological innovation for several years, but also because it is one of few places to become successful without embracing all of the tenants of Western culture. Japan is extremely insular. Even its largest city, Tokyo, after having been rebuilt after World War II, managed to retain some of these specifically Japanese elements.
Location: Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia
Siem Reap greets you with an assembly line visa service. There’s a line of ten or eleven functionaries. Each of them has a rubber stamp, signature, and necessary paperwork. For just $35, your passport can progress down the line, and you gain entrance to a country that only 20 years ago was life threateningly dangerous to visit. It’s quite the different story today.